Minneapolis City Council has created an online comment submission form regarding its proposed charter amendment to replace Minneapolis Police Department with a new "Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention."
Last week, the city council unanimously voted to change the city charter. Now, it is seeking comment on a draft of the proposed changes, which it will discuss at a special meeting Wednesday.
The draft of the revised charter can be read here. The changes would allow the city council to create a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, which would be responsible for "public safety services prioritizing a holistic, public health-oriented approach."
The director of the department should "have non-law enforcement experience in community safety services, including but not limited to public health and/or restorative justice approaches."
The director would also oversee a Division of Law Enforcement Services, which would still have its own director and still include licensed police officers.
“Of course we still have to have emergency response for those situations that are difficult to de-escalate, but I think that it’s important for us to keep in perspective that most of what police do is not respond to violent situations,” Councilman Jeremiah Ellison told WCCO-TV.
The charter currently requires the city council to maintain a minimum force based on the city's population. This requirement would be scrapped if Minneapolis votes for the charter amendment in November, if the council is able to get it on the ballot.
If the amendment is finalized by Aug. 21, the city council can place the proposal on the ballot.
Barry Clegg, chairman of the Charter Commission, told the Star Tribune that in order to get the issue on the ballot, his commission would need to review the changes by its Aug. 5 meeting.